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Archive for January 26th, 2011

Guest Blogger: Pam Champagne
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011


by Pam Champagne

I often wonder if Maine is part of the United States of America. CNN news and weather seldom mention us. Their national weather map stops at lower New Hampshire and Vermont. Perhaps they think Maine is part of Canada? Or perhaps we aren’t media sensational as other States during blizzards, ice storms and floods. Oh wait! We did make national news when the ski lift fell at Sugarloaf. The media loves tragedies or potential tragedies and such.

Granted, Maine’s population is low. The majority of Maniacs are self-sufficient with generators and woodstoves, so are able to survive a week or more, if not forever, without electricity. I’d guess there’s no news if people aren’t freezing or starving to death. If your vehicle goes off the road, you either winch it out or wait for the next truck to come along and pull you out.

A few years back, I recall a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune won an island off the coast of Maine. The winner asked, “Where is Maine?” Pat Sajak replied he wasn’t quite sure, but thought it was “in the northeast somewhere.” I’m not making this up folks. It’s the God’s honest truth.

There have been rumblings in Maine about dividing the State into two States. About 75 percent of the population lives from Portland south. In my opinion, this area is an extension of Massachusetts, since many of the people who live there relocated from southern New England “to move to the country.” News flash! They brought the rat race they hoped to escape in their luggage.

The vast majority of residents of central Maine get by and the ones in northern Maine for the most part are impoverished. They work seasonal jobs and collect unemployment for much of the year. Tough new fishing laws hurt these coastal residents. The Go Green movement has hurt our logging industry, which is strange since trees are a renewable resource. Shoe shops, once the main employer in Maine, are for the most part extinct thanks to our Asian imports. My Dad actually raised his family by hand sewing in a shoe factory.

Many celebrities and Fortune 500 people have seasonal homes on the coast and their taxes keep the towns running smoothly. On the downside, locals have to pay those taxes too.

I’m lucky to live within commuting distance of Bangor (takes me an hour or more), so my skills as a legal secretary enabled me to find a job. Many aren’t so lucky. Yet, for all its hardships, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I can be in the wilderness and mountains or the beautiful coast in about 2 hours. Who could ask for more?

For a taste of life in Downeast Maine, one of the poorest areas in our State, check out my book, Bed of Lies. If you’re not familiar with Maine, you will be enlightened.